Cameron Bird has grown up with a passion for the outdoors. Whether it was a family camping trip to the west coast of British Columbia, a hunting excursion deep into the backwoods of the northern interior or time spent exploring northern Ontario on his grandparents’ farm, Cameron developed a love for nature and its surroundings at an early age. This love and passion has grown over the years and has become the foundation of the artist so many have come to know today.
Cameron began his career with sketching, which he continues to this day as reference for his larger studio oils. His formal art training took place at Emily Carr College of Art and Capilano College where he studied commercial art; as well he completed studies in professional sign painting. Each year Cameron gathers reference for his work while fishing, camping and hiking in the mountains and outdoors. A particular interest for Cameron is to carry his paint box with him and capture the subjects first hand, known commonly as plein air. Plein air painting was initially very overwhelming for Cameron. It was difficult for him to simplify landscapes and present clean colours in such vast settings, however years of practice and patience have given him the confidence and skill which can be seen today in his plein air studies.
Having studied many artists from history, Cameron is drawn to the work of the Illingworth Kerr, Maynard Dixon, Carl Rungius and in particular Canadian artist Keith C Smith. Cameron studied with KC Smith for over ten years. KC helped Cameron find the knowledge and courage to produce work of power and simplicity. KC always taught him to simplify and make each brush stroke count; Cameron has always admired the use of bold color and heavy impasto. When Cameron and KC weren’t painting or exploring, they would often discuss the importance of art and creating a balanced lifestyle around it. The two spent many evenings together, enjoying a cigar and scotch while deliberating over the history of their craft and where they fit in it all. Studying and meeting KC Smith would become a turning point in Cameron’s professional career and would blossom into one of the most influential relationships in his personal life.
Starting in the late 90’s Cameron worked as a pack horse guide in the mountains which provided him with first hand material and reference for his paintings. It was a time that saw a change occur in Cameron. He was now indulging full time in the wilderness he had grown up in. The alpine lakes and streams in the mountainous region that surrounded him enabled his artistic vision to expand.
As a landscape/wildlife artist, some would be surprised to find that Cameron firmly believes it is essential to study all forms of art, from realism to abstraction. “Studying abstraction has given me the confidence to further simplification in my work. My personal experiences are what pull me back to some form of reality. I continue to study powerful shapes and layered colour creating an exciting textured painting with an abstract base,” says Cameron.
Cameron has been painting professionally since 1989 and full time since 1999. Cameron has had many one man and group exhibitions and is represented in a number of art galleries throughout Canada. Through his work ethic, Cameron has been recognized internationally by a wide clientele base. He currently lives in the interior of British Columbia with his family and continues to capture and explore the wild and its animals.